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Ana's Vision

If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. –Mother Teresa

I was born in Cusco, Peru, and my parents adopted me when I was a baby. During the summer of 2003, when I was 11 years old, my mother and I went down to Peru with other children who had also been adopted in Peru. I collected children’s books in Spanish and teddy bears to bring down to the children at the orphanages that we planned to visit.

The Hogar de Niñas near Anta was a small orphanage in the hills outside Cusco, Peru. It was not on our scheduled list of orphanages to visit because it is so small and remote, but a family friend from Cusco told us about it and I really wanted to visit since it is near where I was born. When we went to the hogar I gave the children the books and teddy bears. They greatly appreciated the gifts, but the girls truly showed their appreciation to us for our visit. We discovered that the orphanage had never had visitors before and I imagined what it must have been like to live as those girls did.

I got to know one of the girls who lived in the orphanage whose name was Maribel. When I was leaving she started to cry as she hugged me and she said that she believed I would not forget about them. Maribel's words and the possibility that I could have been in an orphanage, inspired me to do something to help these girls. I realized that there were so many things in my life that I had been taking for granted. I realized then just how lucky I truly was. I was blessed with a wonderful loving family that has always supported me any way possible and the opportunity to have a wonderful education. I wanted then, these same things for the girls in Peru. My visit to the orphanage and seeing how the girls were living, made me realize that they needed more than books and bears. I believed that if I tried, I might be able to really help them.

Peruvian Hearts has taught me that even when one sees a situation that appears to be hopeless, there is still hope. I know that I can't change the world in a day, and I know that I cannot do this by myself, but I believe that kids and adults, working together, really can make a difference. I want to show other young people how easy it is to get involved and inspire them to reach out and help others less fortunate than themselves. I believe that every person has the ability to help make the world a better place

The motto of Peruvian Hearts is "changing the world, one heart at a time." I hope that Peruvian Hearts will make an impact on the lives of other kids and help them believe that they can make a difference in the world. Every time a child helps another child, it is an act of kindness. These small acts of kindness can help create a more peaceful world.

Watch Ana on CNN

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